Using KPI's to delegate

In a previous post titled Getting Beyond the “Survival Stage” of Growth in Your Business, I touched on the process by which you begin building systems which your business can operate on its own.  Here I want to focus on how you actually do it.

First, the process is pretty simple:

    1. Do It
    2. Document It
    3. Test It
    4. Train It
    5. Delegate It

Sounds simple enough, so why do so many business owners struggle with completing it?  There are a number of reasons.  But, I think it’s more they don’t understand how to do these 5 steps.  If you ever want to be free of your business you must learn and do this for every aspect of your business.

Do It

This is the easiest step.  Once you’ve completed something enough times you’ve settled on a process that works.  You’ve worked out the kinks.  You know the objections.  You know the gotchas.  This is usually where most people stop.

I see this all the time.  When I ask, the owner will tell me “nobody can do it except me!”  That’s because you stopped at step 1 in the process!

Document It

This means writing down what you do.  It’s a good place for a checklist.  I recommend a workflow diagram as well as many people learn better by seeing a visual picture.  I fall into this category.  I can read a page over and over and not get it.  Show me a picture and I can do it like I was doing it for years!

Here is an example of where someone thinks they’ve got it documented and they don’t.  A packing slip shows someone what needs to be shipped right?  It shows what someone ordered.  The warehouse person just needs to read the packing slip and put everything in a box right.  Wrong!!!  How should the box be filled?  What needs to be put in the box to assure that the content doesn’t get damaged?  What about labeling the box, how is it done correctly so that it makes where it’s supposed to go?

If this other stuff is not part of the checklist/instructions you are assuming that everyone has the same knowledge as you.  If they don’t who knows how things will turn out!

Test It

This step frequently gets skipped.  Just because it’s written down doesn’t mean it works.  Testing it makes sure someone can read the instructions and get the desire outcome by doing the steps.

As many years as I have been doing this I still get caught.  I’ll write a procedure and nobody can understand what I meant in step 4.  When you ask people are usually willing to tell you what confused them.  Correct it and move on.

Train It

Training seems trivial in many cases, but you’ll get better results if you do.  It’s not just about teaching someone how to do something.  It’s about connecting with the person.  Showing them that what they do is important enough to take time to work with them.

You also learn a lot about a person while working with them.  You get to know their learning style.  How they process information.  You may also get to know what other talents they have that you didn’t even know they had.  This could prove advantageous later on, but if you don’t take the time you’ll never know!

Delegate It

This is ultimately where every owner needs to get – delegation!!!  It is a skill that is lacking in many small business owners.  If you’ve never been a manager in a big company you may never have had to delegate before.  But, ultimately you will need to delegate everything you do in your business.  If you don’t you’ll always be tied to it!

This is one of those areas where we frequently get involved with owners.  Often it’s not the mechanics of the process the gets them stuck.  It is their mental state – the inability to let go!  It’s not hard to understand why.  Their business is like a child that they have grown themselves.  It’s hard for a parent to let their child wander off on their own!!!

If have struggled with this, share your story of how you overcame the challenge.  If you are unsure of where to go next, contact me.  We deal with this issue all the time and we’ve developed some powerful tools to assist you in your transition.


  1. Avatar
    Mary Kaplan
    December 3, 2012

    Great post, and I agree, many business owners never get around to doing anything past step 1. I think time is the culprit. It takes time to document, test, train and delegate. Most business owners are very short on time. So they do everything themselves, and it is a vicious circle. Business owners just need to belly up to the bar and do the documentation first and foremost. The other steps are important, but can’t happen until the documentation is complete.

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